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Re: Akinola Redux
I am sorry that my forthright participation in the Akinola enthronement
wounded you. I have shared my reasons for doing so not to get your
approval, but to give you the clear and honest account that I think I owe
to all, and to be instructed by equally candid responses. I thank you for
You are right that good intentions are not enough, and I may indeed be
wrong in participating. The reasons that I did so may not be adequate.
They are my reasons, and I will continue to question them myself, to be
open to correction and change.
I have not for a moment forgotten those who do not live with support
systems. For the first 15 years of Integrity, Ernest and I lived as an
'out' interracial gay couple in hostile rural America, integrating a
neighborhood in Georgia and then one in Wisconsin. Through those rigorous
challenges, maybe I have developed muscles of the spirit that are
unsightly bulging, like a weight-lifter's muscles when she works only with
her arms and forgets her legs. That is a real risk.
There is a counter risk, about which I spoke in my post, of growing so
accustomed to the oppression we can complain about that we don't move to
the head of the table where Jesus typically invites the outcast to sit.
My Shepherd always prepares the table before me in the presence of my
enemies. I can enjoy the meal only if I let the shepherd worry about the
those lurking to do us harm.
I remember the essay written in my honors class at the University of
Alabama, where I went to teach in 1966, the first year after that
University had integrated. She described walking around the campus and
having baseballs nearly hit her, and various other near 'accidents.' She
said that she always smiled, and was aware that some of the accidents were
likely just that. Her big fear, she wrote, was that maybe her face would
freeze in that smile.
My friend John McNeill in a sermon I heard 29 years ago amended Milton's
conclusion of "Sonnet on His Blindness" to say, "They also serve who only
sit in the corner and lick their wounds." I've been there, done that, and
know that he is right. Those of us not sitting in the corner licking our
wounds are in no way superior to those who are. We all have need of each
You are also absolutely right to insist that the feelings of all are real
and must be honored. I do not dishonor yours by sharing with you mine.
I honor your feelings as I honor those of the dean, Bishop Sisk, Bishop
Roskam, the Presiding Bishop, and Archbishop Akinola.
Pray for me, a sinner.